Shimla, November 9 :The Himachal Pradesh fire department has launched an awareness campaign, focusing school children, for safe Diwali, an official said here on Monday. “We are regularly organising training camps with live demonstrations in various industrial units, educatiol institutions and government offices to minimise the loss in case of fire,” a spokesperson for the department told IANS. A special campaign has been launched to sensitise the school students — both government and private — across the state about the safe use of firecrackers, he said. A total of 3,134 training camps were organised during Diwali in the past three years that saw participation of more than 50,000 people. Himachal Pradesh has tough topographic conditions due to which there is a fear of tural and man-made calamities.
There are centuries old historical and heritage wooden buildings in the state which are vulnerable to fire. The fire department of the state has saved 460 lives and properties worth Rs.2,081 crore from fire-related incidents in past three years, said the spokesperson. During this period 4,491 fire incident calls were received. Among the major fire incidents reported in the state are gutting of Minto Court, one of the last few iconic structures of the Queen of Hills, last year. It joins a list of British era buildings that went up in flames. The two-storeyed, half timbered Tudor style all wooden frames and shingled eaves Minto Court building was completely gutted with all records within a few hours.
It housed the office of Project Deepak of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), an inter-services organisation under the defence ministry. The same year a blaze broke out in the 109-year-old Gorton Castle, housing the state’s Audit and Accountant General’s offices in Shimla, reducing two of its floors to ashes.In a devastating fire in 2011, more than 80 houses were destroyed in the fire in Chichwardi village near Chirgaon in Rohru tehsil. In 2008, at least half of Mala, the oldest village in the Kullu Valley, was burnt down in a fire.Mala, an isolated village amid mountains some 300 kms from here, is situated around 9,000 feet above the sea level and has no motor approachable road. (IANS)